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VALENTINE Countdown: Oh-So-Pink Cookies

By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, February 1st, 2009 at 6:21 am in Cuisine, Valentine.

Valentine Shortbread (Courtesy BHG.com)Happy February! We’re two weeks out from Valentine’s Day. Time to fire up the oven and rustle up the doilies and ribbons. And we’re starting our Valentine countdown with a recipe from one of our favorite sites for recipes, crafts and decoration ideas, BHG.com. (And thank you, Better Homes & Gardens folks, for always being so nice about sharing!) We’ve been swooning over their ideas for sweet peppermint stars – little florets of pink and white meringue – and red velvet cupcakes. But that mouthwatering photo above is for White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread, the perfect oh-so-pink cookie for your sweetie. Here’s how it’s done.

White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread
* 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
* 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 cup cold butter
* 12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
* 2 drops red food coloring (optional, but puh-leeze, you want these to be pink, right?)
* 2 teaspoons shortening
* White nonpareils and/or red edible glitter (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.

3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

5. In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils and/or edible glitter. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. Makes about 60. (Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.)

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